... as always on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I bring a wildly popular Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history. The embedded links often point to articles that I’ve chosen as illustrative of the scenes, from The Society for American Baseball Research, reproductions of period newspapers, images, and other such material. It’s all lightly unpacked and folded neatly, just for you.
You might learn something, but mostly, it’s for fun!
Today in baseball history:
- 1912 - Redland Field, the steel and concrete ballpark named to match the team’s moniker and hue, makes its debut with the hometown Reds beating Chicago, 10-6. In 1934, the Cincinnati ballpark will become known as Crosley Field in honor of the team owner Powel Crosley, Jr. (1)
- 1912 - The Chicago Cubs’ famed double play combination of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance makes its final appearance together in an Opening Day game. The triumvirate of shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance will be broken up at the end of the season. (3)
- 1961 - On Opening Day, the flag is hung at half-staff at Crosley Field to honor the memory of late owner Powel Crosley Jr., who passed away two weeks earlier. The Reds, the eventual National League Champions, get off to a good start by beating Chicago, 7-1. (1)
- 1966 - Twenty years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Emmett Ashford becomes the first black major league umpire, working third base when the Senators host the Tigers on Opening Day at D.C. Stadium. The dapper Californian arbitrator will become well-known for his flashy style, which includes sprinting around the infield after foul balls, his karate chop strike calls, and pirouetting while dusting off home plate. (1)
- 2009 - For the second time in a week, a team draws four bases-loaded walks in one inning. This time, it’s the Chicago Cubs who profit, in a game in which four Brewer pitchers issue 10 free passes and hit two batters. The Cubs score 4 runs in the top of the 4th inning thanks to Milwaukee’s generosity, but the key play in the 9 - 5 victory happens in the bottom of the 5th when Reed Johnson robs Prince Fielder of a grand slam by climbing over the right field fence at Miller Park. Ryan Dempster is the winner in the nationally-televised contest. On April 8th, the Phillies had also drawn four bases-loaded walks in an inning. (3)
- 2010 - New Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, describing himself as a former “Wrigley bleacher bum” in his days in university, attends the team’s first home opener since his purchase of the club. He is witness to a 9 - 5 win over the Brewers; Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Aramis Ramirez all homer for the Cubs. (3)
- 2010 - Mike Leake becomes the first pitcher since Ariel Prieto in 1995 to make his big league debut without ever spending a day in the minor leagues. The 22-year-old Reds’ right-handed starter gives up four hits in 6.2 innings, getting a no-decision in the Reds’ eventual 3-1 victory over Chicago at the Great American Ball Park.
- Cubs birthdays: Charlie Pick, Walt Moryn, Woodie Fryman, Justin Ruggiano, Brad Brach, . Also notable: Vic Willis, Addie Joss (HoF).
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (5) — Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thanks for reading.